Active Atlantic

The hurricane season in the Atlantic Basin has ended. This summer and fall has been the first above-average tropical storm season in the Atlantic since 2012. Fifteen storms reached at least tropical storm strength, and seven of those became hurricanes. Five of these tropical systems made landfall in the United States.

The most destructive tropical system this year was Matthew, which became a Category 4 Hurricane in the Caribbean Sea, crossing Haiti, Cuba, and the Bahamas before riding up the Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina coastline as a weakening hurricane. Matthew produced more than ten inches of rain in South Carolina’s Low Country, causing extensive inland freshwater flooding.

The National Hurricane Center reports that the active season was due to a large region of weak upper level winds and warmer than average ocean temperatures over the tropical Atlantic.  In other years since 2012, a combination of strong upper-level winds and dry air have suppressed hurricane activity in the Atlantic.

Meteorologist John Wheeler